Dear Friends, I’m On Weight Watchers (and by the way, I really need your help)

Dear Friends,

You know how we all bemoaned the freshman fifteen as the bane of our body-conscious collegiate existence? Well, it turns out the freshman fifteen ain’t got nothin’ on the startup twenty. Between the late nights, the stress-fueled snacking and the nearly nonstop networking, I’ve managed to not only help build a company over the past few years, but also grow my waistline quite a bit as well.

Which is why, after a lot of failed attempts at staring down the scale on my own, I recently decided to start Weight Watchers. For the past month or so, I’ve been doing WW quietly. Surreptitiously counting points, and only cluing in my closest confidants about why I was suddenly opting for half portions of some foods and saying no entirely to others. Turns out that this approach, while better for my ego, is not all that great for my willpower. To be totally honest, I kind of suck at sticking to the plan on my own. Let alone staying strong when faced with actual temptation.

But, since I am determined not to go through the rest of my life feeling like a skinny person wearing a fat girl suit, I’ve resolved to get serious about my own commitment to Weight Watchers. And to open up to you, my friends and followers, in the hope that you’ll be willing to help — or at least not judge me too harshly when I pull ‘oh-so-LA’ moves like asking for half my dinner to be preportioned into a to-go box, or declining that third drink in favor of club soda.

The reality is, starting a serious weight loss program is a lot like starting up a company. It’s rigorous, trying, exhausting and — hopefully — ultimately rewarding enough to make up for all of that. It also can’t be done without a team to support it.

So, my friends, here’s where things get serious. I need your help to make these changes, and make sure they stick. Which means I might start asking to swap a happy hour for a hike, bringing lower points options to our dinner parties, trying to split an entrée instead of ordering the whole thing, and being obnoxiously nitpicky about what I expend my precious points on.  I promise I won’t turn into one of those annoying LA diet freaks who can only talk about how virtuous my salad is. But I may also have to gently remind you that what might be a good or bad choice for you isn’t the same for me — especially since the Weight Watchers system is about points, not calories.

At the same time, because I’m a masochist (and also because I recently spent some time with a couple of vegan friends who reminded me of why I chose to be a vegetarian for so many years as a teen), I’ve also committed to significantly cutting down on my meat consumption. Now, I won’t say no to the occasional charcuterie platter or slice of my mom’s mouthwatering brisket, but I will be relegating meat to special occasion status, and trying to steer clear of it entirely during the daytime (a la one of my culinary idols Mark Bittman). This is both a health decision and an ethical one. There are numerous studies and stats that show excessive meat consumption is a leading contributor to global warming and a drain on our planet’s precious resources, not to mention a good way to develop all sorts of health and weight problems. Now, I know that by still eating some meat and continuing to eat a lot of fish, I’m not being nearly as conscientious as I could be if I were to go totally vegan. But, in my opinion, doing something is better than doing nothing, and this is the something that is sustainable for my current lifestyle.

So, now that you know the most intimate details of my newly formed, hopefully soon-to-actually-be-habitual eating habits, I sincerely hope that you can help me along the way. I need all the support that I can get if I’m going to make these changes stick. And you, friends and followers, are the best support system I know. Here’s hoping that with your help I can finally show the startup twenty who’s boss.

Lots of love (and thank you in advance),


What Your Hairstyle Says About Your Leadership Status (aka: How I Learned To Stop Worrying & Love The Color Pink)

Today, Twitter is abuzz with women decrying what Alexia Tsotsis called “The Saddest Pink Infographic About Women In Tech You’ll Ever See.” As you can see, it’s basically a Pepto Bismol flavored Cosmo quiz purporting to match women up with their techlebrity counterparts via such insightful questions as ‘white wine spritzer or tequila with worm’ and ‘who is your dream man?’ It’s no surprise women everywhere (and especially women in tech) are expressing outrage, insult and offense.

But, what these women don’t see is the sheer brilliance of this little marketing ploy. Sure, it’s got more pink than Elle Woods’ closet, and more silly questions than…well, an actual Cosmo quiz. But, it’s also a brilliant and incisive way for the female tech leaders of tomorrow to gain inspiration from their counterparts in today’s tech workforce.

After all, if it weren’t for this little quiz, I would never have known that my predilection for hosting dinner parties, my love of Jimmy Choos and my layered hair could lead directly to a career modeled on the mighty Marissa Mayer. Or that fantasizing about CEO’s could land a girl a gig like Sheryl Sandberg’s.

Those boys have it hard, what with all that having to actually work to get where they are. Us girls are lucky. All we need is a little style, a little sass and — apparently — a good eye for picking the right cocktail, and we too could end up as tech leaders. In fact, I might just take the rest of the day off and go on a Net-A-Porter binge instead. I mean, I’ve got an engineering queue to organize, a bunch of database stuff to update, some page configurations to deal with and a social media audit to run today, but why do all of that silly stuff when all I really need to do is hone my ability to discern the difference between a white wine spritzer and a tequila shot?

After all, the infographic said that’s all it takes to formulate a female tech influencer’s identity. And, what could possibly be wrong about something so pretty and pink?

Why Twiistup Didn’t Include Women In Its Original Lineup & Why I Don’t Hate Them For It

Last night, I had coffee with Twiistup Organizer Patrick Vlaskovits to discuss my recent blog post questioning the lack of women on Twiistup’s speaker lineup. I know a lot of people were curious — to say the least — about that little oversight on the part of the Twiistup organizers, and I went into our coffee date eager to find out for myself what the deal was.

After talking things over with the very affable and apologetic Patrick, I can pretty confidently say that the oversight was, indeed, an oversight. But not in the same sense that we may have thought it was here in blogosphere-land.

I don’t think Patrick or the other folks behind Twiistup forgot to include women, failed to reach out to women or — as some people have speculated — intentionally left women off the lineup. I also don’t think they scrambled around to get women lined up after the proverbial poop hit the fan, as others have also speculated.

In fact, I think they actually, legitimately had women they were working on confirming, and they simply made the massive PR blunder of failing to foresee what would happen if they announced their lineup prior to including a single one of those ladies. I also choose to believe Patrick’s reasoning that because his network is mostly up north, and because he’s trying steer the conference away from focusing so much on social media and more into areas of tech that we all admit have a problematic lack of female leaders, finding women speakers has been harder than finding male ones. Are those things bad? Yes. Do they indicate an intentional snub of female techies? I don’t think so.

Now, you can call me naive for wanting to believe the best about people, and especially about tech conferences that involve a lot of people I know and admire. But, I truly believe that the Twiistup organizers simply screwed up on the PR side and that they intended to include some amazing women (I got a sneak peek at the final lineup last night) all along. Which is why I’m laying down the law right here and now — nobody is allowed to devalue those women when they do get announced by mentioning “tokens”, “quotas” or anything else of the sort.

Personally, when it comes to the treatment of women in tech, I want action, not affirmative action. We deserve to stand alongside the men because we are just as good — and sometimes better — than they are. Not just because we happen to work in the same field and have lady parts. That was my problem with the perceived slight of Twiistup all along. After all, how could they possibly hold a massive LA tech conference, bill it as a celebration of the LA tech ecosystem and completely ignore all the LA-based women doing amazing things in tech?

Well, after literally opening my Rolodex to Patrick last night, and hearing him come right back with some equally great names they’ve been trying to nail down for a while, I’m pretty confident that they didn’t ignore anyone. At least not intentionally. They may not have known everyone they should have, and there is certainly a maddening shortage of women to know in the fields they’re trying to find, but I don’t hold either of those things against Twiistup or Patrick Vlaskovits. I do think he made a PR blunder in the way the lineup was announced, and I think we as techies were right to question it.

Now that those questions have been answered, only time — and the conference itself — will tell whether I was right to walk away from last night’s meeting believing those answers.

And in the meantime, if you’re an LA woman in tech and you get an email from Patrick Vlaskovits about speaking at Twiistup, please find a way to say yes. The more opportunities we take to show off the wonderful work women are doing in tech today, the more we will hopefully be creating more women to join us in doing that work tomorrow.

Is it better to connect to individual third party sharing/login APIs or find a service like RPX or Disqus that handles them all for you?

Is it better to connect to individual third party sharing/login APIs or find a service like RPX or Disqus that handles them all for you? Write an answer on Quora

Is it better to connect to individual third party sharing/login APIs or find a service like RPX or Disqus that handles them all for you?

Twiistup’s Lineup Is Clearly An Attempt To Cut Down On Lines At The Ladies Room

Let me start by saying I’ve always loved Twiistup. It was the first major tech conference I ever attended, and it’s an annual affair I always look forward to. I love how LA-centric it is, and how I always walk away with tons of renewed relationships, new contacts and interesting ideas. And, let me also preface this by saying that I am a big fan of the work that this year’s organizer Patrick Vlaskovits is doing. I also think this year’s lineup of speakers and advisors has some really interesting names, and some people whose work I truly admire.

Now, let me also say this:  WTF Twiistup? What could possibly have possessed you to post a full lineup of speakers that does not include a single woman. I know the line for the ladies bathroom at last year’s conference got a little long at times, but this is no remedy. In fact, it’s a bit of an embarrassment. For a conference that prides itself on being “LA’s biggest technology and startup event” the exclusion of all the fantastic females doing amazing things in the LA tech scene is pretty ridiculous.

Now, I’m not going to say women deserve equal time on Twiistup’s agenda — or on any conference agenda for that matter — just because we were born with lady parts. My stance has always been to give the women who work as hard and as well as the men the same privileges and publicity that the men get. And this lineup, with its woeful exclusion of every single well-qualified, well-spoken woman in the LA tech scene, falls sadly short of accomplishing that. If there were a shortage of local women who could stand proudly and deservedly alongside the fantastic men on the speakers list, then I would say that Twiistup is justified in its decisions. But, there’s certainly no shortage of those women in tech or in LA.

In fact, I’d venture to say that even within my own rolodex, I could name multiple women whose accomplishments and speaking abilities are equal to or better than those of the guys on the current list of speakers. They’re all LA-based, and I bet most of them would be more than willing to appear at Twiistup.

So Twiistup,  I can only assume that you neglected to include any of those amazing women because you just didn’t have their contact info. After all, that’s really the only valid excuse for posting a full conference lineup sans any females. And hey, that’s a problem I’ll happily help you remedy. Since I’m such a big fan of the work your organizers are doing and the work they’ve done in the past, I’ll be more than happy to turn over all the contact info you need. All I ask in return is that you make sure the ladies room is well stocked this year.

Best Food Network Recipes Of 2010

This post was originally published on

2010 was the year comfort food reigned, and soothing culinary classics filled the Food Network airwaves — not to mention the stomachs of many a satisfied viewer. With the cultural and culinary zeitgeist leaning heavily towards simplicity, artisan craftsmanship and soothing nostalgia, Food Network’s 2010 recipes tended to feature back-to-basics techniques and down-home dishes.

But, of course, this being 2010, there were also a few recipes more notable for their virality than anything else. For example, Sandra Lee’s Channukah Cake — a monstrous concoction of good intentions and hilariously bad execution, made momentarily famous in the blogosphere for how bad it was. Of course, no matter what the recipe, viewers tuned in to watch Food Network’s famous chefs in record numbers in 2010, making it even more popular than ever. And, making many a home cook — and their friends and families — very happy.

Check out my list of the best Food Network recipes of 2010 on for a full rundown of the year’s best recipe videos.

New Year’s Resolutions + Social Media: What You Need To Know To Start 2011 Off Right

This post originally appeared on Mashable

Whether you’re looking to make a big change, or just tweak a few little things, the new year gives you the perfect opportunity to reflect on your behavior and resolve to do better going forward.

Of course, it’s one thing to say you want to tackle a typical resolution like get in better physical shape, get in better financial shape or — like many of us who work on the web — get your social media presence in order. It’s another thing to actually accomplish those big, broad goals.

So this year, instead of making your goals big and broad, why not take a page from the web world and use analytics to pinpoint the specific stuff you want to change? And, by that same token, why not use data tracking to hold yourself accountable for keeping all those resolutions too?

Read on for some tips on how to use social media to corral your New Year’s resolutions. Let us know in the comments below what tips worked for you, or share your own resolution advice..see full post